Three-term mayor to be granted prestigious Honorary Freedom of the Borough
- Credit: GYBC
A long-serving councillor and three-term mayor of Great Yarmouth is to be awarded the honorary freedom of the borough at a special ceremony.
Michael Jeal will be formally recognised at a council meeting on Thursday April 14.
In 1974 Mr Jeal joined the Norfolk Fire Service and served in Gorleston for 10 years before joining Great Yarmouth Fire Department where he worked for three decades.
After leaving the fire service in March 2004, Mr Jeal joined First Move Furnishaid - a Great Yarmouth charity who redistributes furniture and household appliances to families in the local area at affordable prices.
Although originally the post was for six months in 2006, Mr Jeal still works there today.
Mr Jeal's political career began when he was elected to serve the Nelson ward in 1986. During his 35 years of service, he has held a number of key council posts, including the mayor's consort to Susan Robinson in 2006/7, the mayor in 2010/11, 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 and cabinet member for economic development from 2012 to 2015.
Great Yarmouth borough mayor Adrian Thompson said: "Mr Jeal has served three terms as mayor, after he stayed on an extra term during the height of the pandemic, and is an incredibly experienced councillor and civic representative.
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“Awarding Freedom of the Borough is one of the ways we can honour those who have contributed to their community and life in the borough in a big way and Mr Jeal is an extremely worthy beneficiary.”
Mr Jeal said: “I am honoured to join my fellow former mayor and long-serving councillor Cora Batley - the first ever woman to receive the award in 1997 - in receiving this admirable award.”
The privilege is given to those who the council feel has provided the borough with invaluable services over many years. The first ever record of Freedom of the Borough dates to 1312 when it was granted to John Fraunceys of Caister, and recipients include Admiral Lord Nelson back in 1800.
As well as individuals, it has also bestowed on several organisations with strong links to the borough, such as the East Anglian Regiment in 1963, HMS Yarmouth, Great Yarmouth & Gorleston Lifeboat and Caister Lifeboat in 1984.